How to Fix Door Lock on Car (Problems & Fixes)

Are you having trouble with your car door lock? Most often, power locks can cause some issues. It could be a broken key FOB issue or a malfunctioning door lock. Sometimes, the lock might be jammed, and proper lubrication will fix the issue. Whatever the problem, you might encounter a broken or malfunctioning car door lock sooner or later. So, that is why today, I’m hoping to find answers to how to fix the door lock on your car.

In General, to fix a broken car door lock, follow these methods:

  • First, try replacing the key FOB battery or power door lock fuse.
  • Put some WD-40 or catalyst on the jammed car door lock.
  • Sometimes the issue might lie in the door alignment. So, remove the door and reinstall it properly.
  • Separate the door panel and check the cables and rods.
  • If none of the above methods works, try replacing the car door lock actuator.

Mechanism of a Car Door Lock

Without the proper understanding of a car door lock’s mechanism, fixing a broken lock is pointless. You need this kind of knowledge to identify car door lock issues. So, here is a simple explanation of the car door lock’s mechanism.

  • Door Handles: Located on both interior and exterior of the car door.
  • Door Hinges: This part is used to connect the door frame and car door.
  • Door Latches: Small claws that allow the car door to close or open.
  • Anchor: Works with the latches.
  • Door Lock: Main part of the locking mechanism
  • Other Electrical Parts: Connected to the car’s circuit and allows users to press a button to release or close the door.

Common Problems and Fixes Related to Car Door Locks

In this section, I’m hoping to discuss the most common problems and fixes related to car door locks.

Problem 1: How to Remove the Door Panel?

First and foremost, you should learn how to remove the door panel. However, you don’t have to remove the door panel for some issues. Most electrical issues can be fixed without removing the door panel. Anyway, here are some simple steps to remove the car door panel.

Note: This guide pertains to one specific vehicle but you will notice the majority of door panels follow the same principles and you can adapt these steps to your own model.

Step 1 – Remove the Plastic Covers

On the edge of the door (close to the dashboard), you can locate a plastic tab. Remove it using a screwdriver. (1)

Then remove the plastic cover located near the side mirror.

Step 2 – Loosen the Screws

Now, remove the visible screws using a Philips screwdriver.

Step 3 – Remove the Trim Piece

Next, remove the trim piece located on the door handle. Use the screwdriver to take out the trim piece. Then, loosen the exposed screw on the door handle.

Step 4 – Separate the Power Switch Panel Cover

Now, remove the plastic cover on the switch panel. Then, loosen the screw that holds the switch panel.

After that, lift the switch panel from the door. However, the switch panel cover is still connected to the door via screws.

So, loosen those screws and take out the switch door panel cover. Disconnect the cables if needed.

Step 5 – Remove the Door Panel

You can locate two or three screws around the door panel. Remember to loosen them using a Philips screwdriver.

Now pull out the door panel.

Finally, disconnect the wire connection that goes from the door lock to the door handle. The car door panel should be completely free now.

Problem 2 – Electric Lock Not Functioning

The electric lock not functioning issue can be a direct result of a key fob’s dead battery or a blown fuse. Therefore, try replacing the key fob battery. It might work. The key fob battery is a coin-type battery. So, refer to the vehicle manual to find out the model details you may require.

Or check the power door lock fuse. If needed get professional help for inspecting the fuse box. However, it can be a bit costly. So here are some simple steps. (2)

Step 1: First, check the car’s manual. It should point out the location of the fuse box.

Step 2: If you are unable to locate the fuse box from the manual, look behind the driver-side footwalk’s plastic panel.

Tip: In the manual, you can find a diagram that has details about the different fuses.

Problem 3 –When Turning the Key or Pulling the Rod Does Nothing, But the Solenoid Clicks

If the solenoid clicking sound can be heard when you turn the key or use the key fob, and the door won’t open, that means the door lock is jammed. Some doors get jammed due to rust and corrosion. And some get jammed because of bad alignment; it can happen during car door replacement. For each situation, you must follow a different method.

Method 1 – Lubrication

For jammed car lock, use WD-40 or catalyst. Remember to apply the lubricant to the inside of the keyhole and the surroundings. Then, insert the key and try unlocking the door. Lubrication will break up grime and rust quite easily.

Method 2 – Fix the Alignment of the Door

When you replace the car door or reinstall the old door, the wrong alignment can occur at any time. These wrong alignments can jam the door lock. So, remove the door and reinstall it correctly.

Problem 4 – Pulling/Pushing the Lock Button Inside the Car and the Key Doesn’t Work

If the lock button doesn’t work from the inside, that is an indication of a structural issue. So, follow these steps to solve this situation.

Step 1: First, separate the car door panel. Then raise the window. Otherwise, you won’t be able to access the main parts of the door lock.

Step 2: Now, remove the plastic cover on the door. Then, examine the cables and rods. If needed inspect both sides of the lock. Try to recognize any cracks or breakages.

Problem 5 – The Door Lock Won’t Open Form One or Both Sides

After trying the above methods, if the car door lock still doesn’t work, you might have to replace the car door lock actuator.

Step 1 – Separate the Door Panel

First, remove the car door panel.

Step 2 – Remove the Plastic Cover

On the inside of the door, you can locate a plastic cover. You’ll have to remove it to locate the door lock actuator. Don’t forget to raise the window too.

Step 3 – Disconnect the Cable

Now, disconnect the cable from the actuator.

Step 4 – Loosen the Screws and Pullout the Actuator

Then, loosen the three screws that are holding the actuator.

Then take out the actuator.

Step 5 – Examine the Actuator

From here, you can follow two different paths. You can replace the entire actuator, or you can examine the actuator.

Replace the Actuator

If you are planning to replace the actuator, you need the car model details. Then, according to the model, buy a new actuator and install it on the door.

Examine the Actuator

Most of the time, a blown motor is the main reason for a broken actuator.

So, separate the faceplate from the actuator and locate the motor.

Then, buy a new motor according to the actuator model.

Connect the worm gear to the new motor. After that, place the new motor inside the actuator. Reassemble the actuator properly.

Step 6 – Install the Actuator

Now, install the actuator onto the door.

Step 7 – Connect the Door Panel

Then, tighten the screws and cables. Finally, connect the door panel.

Wrapping Up

Always remember, replacing the actuator is the last resort. So, try the other mentioned methods before that. Sometimes the issue might be a jammed door lock. You’ll be able to fix the lock with some lubricant.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) plastic –
(2) power –

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About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

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